Savannah and I have been blessed beyond words to be able to photograph couples and offer them images that they will cherish. We still love hearing laughter, experiencing tears, and seeing looks of adoration between couples when they see their wedding images for the first time. It is something we carry with us to each wedding.
With this in mind, Savannah and I have been on a new quest this year. We believe that these images that we capture whether photojournalistic or masterpiece portrait should be displayed as art pieces. Savannah was trained in fine art photography, she taught me and I have ventured into my own fine art field in landscapes. We do not see wedding photography as merely documenting a day – your uncle with a camera can do that. It is an opportunity for us to give our couples unique images through our creative vision that not only show the moments of a wedding day but also tastefully does so in a signature style that can only belong to us.
Part of this quest, beyond the shooting side, has been making a fine art workflow. We spend more time than the average wedding photographer on each image. We make sure the quality is there with optimum files. So what this means to our client is simple: you get quality images and files that are usually only seen in the fine art world. I can go into the details of what that means (trust me, it is not just a phrase we are throwing out there – this has been almost a year in the making), but I don’t want to bore you. But the cap to this bottle is printing.
We are now printing all art pieces in-house. We now own one of these. What this allows us to do is continue the fine art process all the way to finish with printing exactly how we like. Ansel Adams was famous for saying, “The negative [original file] is the score, the print is the performance.” We are control freaks when it comes to our images. Our lab was doing a good job, but we wanted the best job. We wanted our “performances” to soar and not just be good, solid representations. We have the ability to now make prints exactly how they should look – exactly like what we see on our calibrated, professional monitors. This gives us the unique opportunity to get optimum detail and color accuracy that you cannot get anywhere else.
This also means unique, fine art papers. We have tested two dozen papers to find the one that gets the results we want the best. Papers for Hahnemuhle and Canson (literally the two oldest paper makers in the world), Ilford and Epson. It was a an intense process testing all of these papers. We found that our initial thoughts of what will be the best papers based on research were wrong. We found Hahnemuhle and Canson needing custom profiles to make them shine while Ilford and Epson had excellent stock profiles. The biggest dissapointment to me was the Epson Exhibition Fiber, which is praised as being on the best papers ever produced – not for our images though 😉 We ended up having to pick between two sets of papers (we want a good lustre and fine art matte paper). One set was the warmer papers (Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and Epson Cold Press Natural) versus the other more neutral paper set (Epson Premium Luster and Cold Press Bright). The neutral papers won out for more accurate color and just flat out being sharper for overall use while the warmer papers will be used for when an image just needs that extra warmth in print. The bottom line, Epson has some great products.
So what these means to our clients is that we will be using papers that, unless you print yourself, you cannot get. Our albums will now have select papers that you can choose. Our prints will now be even more dramatic by choosing papers that fit our style (and thus your images) the best. It’s custom, it’s quality, it’s going to be fun!
Last but not least, and maybe most importantly to our clients, this means that our service will be much better. We are no longer middle man with our printing services. This means less mistakes with more accurate representation of the image itself. It’s a win-win for everyone.
So this is what we have been up to. This past year has been the year of risks, not settling for good enough, and putting more investment into our art and clients; that is what you get when you invest in Ava Grace Photography. Thanks for appeasing this post and our control freak mentality!
Philip and Savannah